top 10 operas

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barney
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top 10 operas

Post by barney » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:42 pm

Sue's dismissal of the top 20 operas for 2018, saying she would go only to the Mozart, made me wonder: what are cMGers favourite operas.
My top 10, off the top of my head, no thought, chronological order:
Marriage of Figaro
Cosi fan tutte (or maybe Magic Flute, internal jury is out)
Don Giovanni
Barber of Seville
Norma
Don Carlo
Otello
Walkure
Gotterdammerung
boheme

this is entirely subject to change, according to mood, other posts etc.

barney
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by barney » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:43 pm

PS: I doubt a baroque opera would make my top 50.
Chacun a son gout

barney
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by barney » Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:46 pm

Greatly regret no Rosenkavalier , also no Britten, Rake's Progress etc

Belle
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by Belle » Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:08 am

I totally get that people love those big, dramatic romantic operas; they leave me cold, except for Wagner (to whom I'm a late convert).

Baroque Opera is a staggeringly beautiful genre and I can't decide which is my favourite, but Guilio Cesare - the quintessential opera seria - would come very close. Anything by Handel, Rameau, Lully, Purcell or Monteverdi would be just fine with me.

This scene from the early part of "Guilio Cesare", sung by Ms. Abrahamyan (whom I saw in the recital performance at Theatre an der Wien), and with superb acting, never fails to bring me to my knees. Wonderful singing, a stunning score full of vitality and pathos and glorious playing. Emmanuelle Haïm gets the most out of these musicians and singers, though I'm not so fond of the eponymous hero's performance. This aria - (Cornelia) – Priva son d'ogni conforto - from 14:10 is drop dead gorgeous, but in this performance there is no English translation from the Italian. Extra appeal for those who enjoy their female leads wearing diaphanous fabrics for their costumes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYrhRv59l78

lennygoran
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by lennygoran » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:18 am

No way I'll be participating in this survey-no Donizetti-come on! Len [hiding out in secaucus] :lol:

barney
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by barney » Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:56 pm

You can put him there!
JohnF is right that such surveys prove absolutely nothing, but I am always interested in people's tastes.
(Or your absence of taste, Len - fleeing. :lol:)

John F
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by John F » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:06 pm

barney wrote:
Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:46 pm
Greatly regret no Rosenkavalier , also no Britten, Rake's Progress etc
Or "Falstaff." Caviar to the general, I guess.
John Francis

lennygoran
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:54 am

barney wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:56 pm
(Or your absence of taste, Len - fleeing. :lol:)
Barney you got me! Regards, Len :lol: :lol: :lol:

maestrob
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by maestrob » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:08 pm

My favorite opera, in whatever edition (although I prefer the Rimsky-Korsakov complete, not the truncated Soviet version), is Boris Godunov.

After that: Verdi's Otello

Wagner's Ring cycle, which I've studied and sung parts of the Walkure Wotan.

Ponchieli's La Gioconda, not because of the plot, which is ludicrous, but because of the originality of his music.

Puccini's Gianni Schicchi is a delightful gem.

Massenet's Werther and Manon are tied: I just cannot make up my mind which I love more.

Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto suffer from the same problem, as do Gounod's Faust and Romeo et Juliette.

Verdi's Nabucco was the first opera that I performed with Vincent La Selva, and has been a favorite since 1979. The "Va, pensiero..." chorus was sung spontaneously by the crowd at Verdi's funeral.

Then I must not neglect Donizetti's masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor.

Lastly but certainly not least, is Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, which I've sung parts of in Russian, and therefore remains close to my heart. The finale is deeply moving, and Onegin's aria remains one of the great gems of all opera, not to mention Tatiana's Letter Scene.

Mozart's delightful operas also belong on this list, but I simply cannot pick a favorite. Of his concert arias, I would choose "Vorrei spiegarvi, o Dio..."

Like Belle, I am deeply enamored of Baroque opera, especially Gretry's La Caravane du Caire, and Handel's Rinaldo. But that would need a separate list! :D

Rach3
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by Rach3 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm

If asked by someone who had never seen or heard an opera, you would recommend:

Traviata
Boheme
Don Giovanni
Carmen
Aida

Other ?i

barney
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by barney » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:05 pm

That's a very good start, Rach 3.
Maybe I would add Tosca, Butterfly because Puccini is so incredibly accessible. If they were already musically literate, Peter Grimes perhaps (one I might be alone on), Rosenkavalier. I always think a good introduction to Wagner is the Flying Dutchman, not least because it is of ordinary length as well as great music. Then bel canto - Norma, Puritani, Lucia, and especially the Barber of Seville. That's in 30 seconds of thought. Maybe more later.

lennygoran
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:13 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:08 pm
My favorite opera,

Brian what a list-GREAT! And how you've been involved in them!!! Regards, Len

lennygoran
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:15 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm
If asked by someone who had never seen or heard an opera, you would recommend:

Traviata
Boheme
Don Giovanni
Carmen
Aida
Rach I'd say Boheme-if that one doesn't get you then you know opera is not for you. Regards, Len :)

Belle
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by Belle » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:45 pm

Gretry's opera; I'd never heard of it before but listening to this you can hear its 'style galant' flavour. With the opening chord I thought we were going to hear Haydn but, like Gluck, Gretry's music must have influenced both Mozart and Haydn. Though composed in 1783, this work still uses the harpsichord continuo with the enlarged orchestra moving into the classical period.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJy1qhAakZU

This is the period of the music of Gretry. Many of the characteristics defined in this Wiki entry can be heard in Gretry - whose work is already in the classical period, but of a style galant sensibility.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galant_music

John F
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by John F » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:28 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm
If asked by someone who had never seen or heard an opera, you would recommend:
A fellow editor at W.W. Norton was a Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast and was working on a complete Shakespeare, so I took him to see "Falstaff" at the Met, in Franco Zeffirelli's fine production and with an excellent acting cast. It didn't work. One problem was the language - even though he knew the story, that wasn't enough. But I guess he just wasn't open to it.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:23 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm
If asked by someone who had never seen or heard an opera, you would recommend:

Traviata
Boheme
Don Giovanni
Carmen
Aida

Other ?i
Wow! That's a strong list, Rach3. I agree with Len, who recommended Boheme, or Verdi's Aida, or Carmen.

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: top 10 operas

Post by maestrob » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:06 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:13 pm
maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:08 pm
My favorite opera,

Brian what a list-GREAT! And how you've been involved in them!!! Regards, Len
Thanks, Len. I've also sung Germont (Traviata), Barnaba (Gioconda), Scarpia (Tosca), Marcello (Boheme), Silvio (Pagliacci) and Rigoletto, all in conducting class with La Selva (he sang tenor!). That was before my voice settled into bass-baritone territory (High Priest (Samson et Dalila), Tonio (Pagliacci), Wotan (Walkure), Mefistopheles (Faust). I never wanted to be a singer, even though I was offered a contract to be in Albanese's competition in Alice Tully Hall on La Selva's recommendation.

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: top 10 operas

Post by barney » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:58 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:08 pm
My favorite opera, in whatever edition (although I prefer the Rimsky-Korsakov complete, not the truncated Soviet version), is Boris Godunov.

After that: Verdi's Otello

Wagner's Ring cycle, which I've studied and sung parts of the Walkure Wotan.

Ponchieli's La Gioconda, not because of the plot, which is ludicrous, but because of the originality of his music.

Puccini's Gianni Schicchi is a delightful gem.

Massenet's Werther and Manon are tied: I just cannot make up my mind which I love more.

Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto suffer from the same problem, as do Gounod's Faust and Romeo et Juliette.

Verdi's Nabucco was the first opera that I performed with Vincent La Selva, and has been a favorite since 1979. The "Va, pensiero..." chorus was sung spontaneously by the crowd at Verdi's funeral.

Then I must not neglect Donizetti's masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor.

Lastly but certainly not least, is Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, which I've sung parts of in Russian, and therefore remains close to my heart. The finale is deeply moving, and Onegin's aria remains one of the great gems of all opera, not to mention Tatiana's Letter Scene.

Mozart's delightful operas also belong on this list, but I simply cannot pick a favorite. Of his concert arias, I would choose "Vorrei spiegarvi, o Dio..."

Like Belle, I am deeply enamored of Baroque opera, especially Gretry's La Caravane du Caire, and Handel's Rinaldo. But that would need a separate list! :D
Brian, that's a fascinating list, particularly because it is so personal. It's so strange, taste. I don't know the Gretry, never heard it, and do (sort of) know but don't especially esteem Massenet. For the others, great choices.

Lance
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Re: top 10 operas

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:38 pm

Everyone has their favourites, of course. Mine list would contain:

Verdi's Aida (and Traviata, Trovatore, Don Carlo, Forza and others)
Giordano: Fedora (Magda Olivero, of course)
Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov
Most of the operas by Bellini and Donizetti
Rossini's and Mozart's operas (just about all of them)
Bizet: Carmen
Handel: Acis and Galatea
Wagner: Parsifal
R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos, Salomé
Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
J. Strauss: Die Fledermaus
Gluck: Iphigénie en Tauride, Orfeo ed Euridice

Totalling then all up would create a long list!
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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